Thursday, December 04, 2008

When Anne Stopped Changing

Another section of the book, this one about my dear Hank. Thanks for reading!

Deep in the doldrums of summer, my friend Hank and I would often take refuge in the KFC buffet. There was almost never anybody at the buffet which explains why they stopped offering it, but back then we'd eat and discuss our unfinished stories. There's two schools of thought about this -- that writers should never talk about the work while the work is in process. To talk about it spoils it, releases the need to tell it. The other school of thought is that it's good to get feedback, no matter what. I'd like to add a third way of looking at things. Hank and I would talk about our plots and characters, and we'd offer each other such uniformly hideous suggestions about what to do next (stoned, no doubt, on the copious amount of grease in the food we'd just sucked down) that by the end of the meal, both of us would have been forced to think of something better for fear we might have to resort to the idea offered. Maybe you could make your character a clown school drop-out, one of us might say. You never read anything about clown school, not really. Or we'd resort to smart-ass mode -- How about a car chase? A lovable character named Gramps? We each had projects that were never going to work -- mine was a novel about a born-again evangelical bulimic whose life had taken a bad turn, his was Yellow Leg: The Incontinent Wolf, a long poem written in entirely in couplets about well, you can figure it out.

When we wore out our ideas for the imaginary world, we'd turn to the real one, which in its own way, was just as complicated as our stories. R never changes her clothes before our dates anymore. She just wears what she was wearing to softball practice. Do you think that's a bad sign or is she just comfortable with me now? Bad sign, I'd say, reading the remnants of my mashed potatoes as if they were tea leaves. Or maybe not, I'd backpedal, could be really good. Hank grinned before finishing off his coleslaw. You're right. Maybe I ought to take it as a compliment. Two weeks later she'd left him for someone she'd met at softball practice. You know even when you don't. That became a poem for him, "When Anne Stopped Changing," (I came up with the title on the next KFC visit) which contained the great line -- What, you never thought anything stupid? I've thought so many stupid things, but some of my favorites are ones where I was stuffing my face on my very favorite fast food, dreaming of fiction and life, the two things becoming one and the same by the time we dumped garbage off our trays and entered into the harsh sunlight once again.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'd love to retouch my whole life." Dusty Springfield

Cocktail Hour
Let the holiday drinks begin!

Cozy By The Fire

1 oz Cinnamon schnapps
1 cup Hot chocolate
Mixing instructions:
Heat the hot chocolate and add the cinnamon schnapps

Benedictions and Maledictions
As for the Snoopy band-aid, I did the most stupid thing and burned myself on a hot curler. So badly that it blistered. Only I could injure myself with such a pedestrian tool. I think it's back to totally straight hair for now! Happy Thursday!


Scott said...

Hi Michelle!

Clown school droput?? That's genius right there! I may have to steal that idea.

It sounds like you and your friend had great times at KFC. I do loves me some fried chicken myself. There's a little Church's Chicken shack on the way home from my work, and the smell always tempts me, especially when I'm walking home.

I think it was cool that you both could bounce ideas, real and goofy, off each other. I don't have any writerly friends in my area, so I'm kind of alone in the world of words most of the time.

I hope you have a good Thursday...take care!

Tim said...

I always love to read about you and Hank, its perhaps some of your best, most heartfelt writing. What a special friendship you two shared!

Charles Gramlich said...

I believe "Yellow Leg" could have been a YA masterpiece right up there with White Fang and Call of the Wild.

I used to enjoy KFC buffet too. Hated to see it go.

the walking man said...

I liked the KFR(at) buffet too.

" and the same by the time we dumped garbage off our trays..."

Getting rid of the superfluous and left with the underlying reality that hold fiction and life on the same plate. I like Hank.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the read. Will have much in common with "Yellow Leg." MW

Laura Benedict said...

Ouch! I hope you're okay. I'm sporting an inch-long oven burn myself today. 'Tis the bake and burn season, fa-la-la!

Whitenoise said...

When Anne Stopped Changing. Two days later, this rattles around my cluttered cranium. Sometimes small words speak big truths...